Patricia Elizabeth CHASTANG
November 16, 1962 – April 19, 2019
Patricia Elizabeth Chastang, who pursued a lifelong adventure of learning and teaching, political activism and public service that would make her a citizen of the world, passed away suddenly in Bowie, Maryland, one of her two adopted homes, on April 19, 2019.
Pat was the sixth of eight children born to the late Ruth and Harrison Chastang Jr. in Los Angeles on November 16, 1962. Her older brother George preceded her in death in April, 1983.
She graduated in 1980 from St. Mary’s Academy, an all-girl Catholic high school in Inglewood. Her first stop after high school Portland Oregon, and then Vancouver, British Columbia in the early 1980s, where Pat worked for Greenpeace, an organization fighting for a greener, healthier planet. While there, she trained a new generation of political activists, showing them how to campaign in smart and compassionate ways. A few years later Pat moved to Toronto, where she started the city’s first Greenpeace office in a church basement.
Pat and Shayne Craig met while working for Greenpeace in Toronto and married in 1994. A year later the pair were off to Laos, in Southeast Asia, where they taught English to the children of Laotian diplomats. After returning to Toronto in 2000, Pat worked as a volunteer campaigning for Jack Layton, a Toronto City Councilor who was running for a seat as the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party.
After Layton won, Pat went to work for his replacement on Toronto’s city council, Paula Fletcher, and later City Councilors Adam Giambrone and Mary Fragedakis. In her role as a constituency assistant, Pat worked tirelessly to bring Toronto’s diverse communities together, and she developed a reputation as a trusted bridge-builder and an effective political strategist.
Pat was also a key player in the approval of many programs that enhanced the overall quality of life for Toronto residents. She also trained scores of campaign volunteers, and she did all this despite the fact that she wasn’t a Canadian citizen and couldn’t vote for the people she worked to help elect.
In between working in Toronto city politics, Pat served as a spokesperson for Service Employees International Union-Canada (SEIU-Canada), traveling as far away as Saskatchewan to support the growth of this labor union and improve the public’s perception of SEIU’s mission.
Pat lived her time in Toronto as if she was Canadian, and never wasted an opportunity to humorously chide her friends and family south of the border about missteps by American politicians and officials. Pat moved to Bowie, Maryland just outside Washington, DC in 2014, where she continued her involvement in politics. She worked with several local elected officials including Maryland State Senator Victor Ramirez.
Pat organized a rally in support of Ramirez’s bill tightening Maryland gun laws and coordinated his campaign for Maryland State’s Attorney in 2018. As team leader for the Bowie District campaign, Pat quickly broke all the records for phone banking, marketing strategy and door-knocking. And while Ramirez didn’t win the election, he and the entire team were impressed by Pat’s initiative, her creativity and her hard work. She made a huge difference in this and every campaign she worked on.
And Pat Chastang made a huge difference in all our lives. She was deeply loved will be greatly missed by her brothers Harrison, Richard and David, her sisters Carol, Joan and Julie, friends in Canada, Maryland and around the world, a host of aunts, uncles and in-laws on both coasts, cousins all over the U.S., and the nieces and nephews she loved with all her heart: Genny, Robert, Julian, Tony, Giselle, Michelle, Angelica, Taylor, Jordan, Jada and Xavier.
A memorial service for Pat will be held on Saturday, May 4 at noon at the Inglewood Cemetery Mortuary, in The Galleria, 3801 West Manchester Boulevard, Inglewood CA. Please enter on Florence Avenue side.
There will be a memorial in the Washington DC area on Saturday, May 18, 2 p.m. at the Soka Gakkai International-USA Maryland Center, 2900 Belcrest Center Drive, Hyattsville, Maryland, 20782. There will also be a memorial in Toronto with a date and time to be determined. Please visit Patricia Elizabeth Chastang’s page on Legacy.com for updates on the Toronto memorial service, and to post your own remembrances.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Pat Chastang’s name to the Epilepsy Foundation: https://donate.epilepsy.com/donate
- Memorial Service Saturday, May 4, 2019
- Memorial Service Saturday, May 18, 2019
Patricia Elizabeth CHASTANG
April 29, 2019
Wow. Pat & I recently me during the Supreme Court Justice hearings. We were protesting. She & I were “on the same page” with our views. We became fast friends. Pat listened with her whole heart. She was kind & patient. Recently we had a great conversation about patience. She was looking forward to going to New Orleans recently. We were going to get together when she returned. I messaged her on April 16. I am glad to have met you Pat. Thank you for your strength, wisdom & kindness. Bless you always.
April 25, 2019
Pat and I started working at Paula’s office together in December of 2003. She loved a good laugh even if it was at her expense. One of my fondest memories was of that first February we worked together. She was very involved with Black History Month, out every night at something, so I decided to proclaim May ‘Blonde History Month’. I copied every event she went to but replaced ‘Black’ with ‘Blonde’ and posted pictures of famous blondes throughout history all over the office. She found the whole thing hilarious and we carried the joke along for years. Lots of wonderful memories. Miss you Pat!